The music industry sells compositions, recordings and performances of music. This industry includes musicians, composers, performers and other individuals and organizations such as music publishers, producers, studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, and performance rights organizations that operate within the industry. The industry also includes booking agents, promoters, music venue providers, road crew, professionals who assist musicians, talent managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers, satellite and broadcast radios, journalists, educators, musical instrument manufacturers and many others.
The United States has the world’s largest music industry and its music is heard around the world. It was the Native Americans, the earliest inhabitants of the U.S. who played the nation’s first music. By the passage of time, immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Germany and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles of music and instruments. African slaves brought their musical traditions into the U.S, and each subsequent wave of immigrants contributed to it.
The publishers of sheet music dominated U.S. music industry during the late 19th and early 20th century. The late 19th century witnessed the evolution of African American blues music and by 1920, the gospel music evolved to entertain people of America. The traces of Ukrainian, Irish, Scottish, Polish, Hispanic and Jewish ethnic music can be seen in American folk music. Tons of regional musical styles are supported by U.S. cities such as Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles. Most other cities have their own distinct styles of music. A few examples of diversity in American music are the Cajun and Creole traditions in Louisiana music, the folk and popular styles of Hawaiian music, and the bluegrass and old time music. American music reflects the wide open geography of the American landscape and the sense of personal freedom characteristic of American life.
By the middle of 20th century, records were in place of sheet music as the largest player in the music business. From the beginning of 2000, record music sales dropped off substantially and live music gained importance. The four major players of the music industry from that time are Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI. These companies had many smaller companies and labels that served different regions and markets. Live music industry was dominated by Live Nation which is the former subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S. Currently the major players of music industry also include Creative Artist Agency, and Apple Inc. A study of the U.S. Musical Industry market conducted in 2005 shows that the Universal Music Group accounted for 31.71 percent of the market, Sony Music Entertainment accounted for 25.61 percent, and Warner Music Group for 15 percent. The rest 18.13 percent of the market was enjoyed by independent labels. The U.S. music industry plays a leading role in the world music market.